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Annual Conference in Krakow

15 June 2019

The main theme at the Closed Rectors’ meeting, “Synergies between Research and Education Policies”, was explored by Director Sophia Eriksson-Waterschoot from the Directorate-General for Education and Culture and Deputy Head of Unit Philippe Martin from the Directorate-General Research and Innovation. The latest ideas and considerations from the expert group on Synergies between Research and Education Policies, established by the Executive Board of the Coimbra Group, were also presented as introductions to the discussion. The expert group will continue its work and expect to be able to present a policy paper on the theme of synergies before the end of June.
The Closed Rectors’ meeting also appointed three new members of the Rectors’ Advisory Group. With the end of her second mandate, Rector Eva Åkesson stepped down from the Group, as did Rectors Christa Neuper and Elmer Sterken who have both come to the end of their mandates as Rectors. The new elected members of the Rectors’ Advisory Group are Rector Pilar Aranda Ramírez from the University of Granada, Rector Rosario Rizzuto from the University of Padova, and Vice-Chancellor Stuart Corbridge from Durham University. The Closed Rectors’ meeting extended their warm thanks to Rectors Åkesson, Neuper and Sterken for their commitment over the past years and congratulated the new members of the Group. The composition of the Rectors’ Advisory Group after the Annual Conference is the following:
• Ex officio members: Honorary President Rector Wojciech Nowak, Président Patrick Gilli (future Honorary President) and Rector Ricardo Rivero Ortega (former Honorary President);
• Elected members: Vice-Chancellor Stuart Corbridge, Rector Pilar Aranda Ramírez, Rector Rosario Rizzuto, and Rector Luc Sels.
The public conference in the morning of 6 June on “Women in the University” gave rise to a widely held wish to establish a new working group on gender issues. You will receive more detailed information and presentations on this at the start of the new academic year, but we use this opportunity to inform you of the initiative. You may also wish to revisit or inform yourselves of the conference and the presentations via this link.
The General Assembly confirmed the work plans of the working groups of the Coimbra Group and elected two new members of the Executive Board: Vice-Rector Prof. Claudia Cavadas from the University of Coimbra and Prof. Elmer Sterken, soon to be “rector emeritus” of the University of Groningen. The Executive Board is grateful for the new members and the confidence in them shown at the General Assembly. The renewed Executive Board will meet on 15-16 July in Brussels to divide the responsibilities for member universities and working groups among them, and you will of course be informed about the new agreements.
In the evening of 6 June and preceding the Gala Dinner, Mayor of Kraków Jacek Majchrowski and Rector Wojciech Nowak signed the Poitiers Declaration. More information and photos.
This was followed by Duke Leopold of Arenberg handing the diploma for this year’s Arenberg-Coimbra Group Prize for Erasmus Students to the 2019 Laureate, Janeli Harjus from the University of Tartu.
Over the coming months you will receive information about the upcoming events in the new academic year. The following is a short list of events planned until the end of 2019:

  • 8 October: full-day workshop on the Poitiers Declaration, to be held within the context of the European Week of Regions and Cities, organised annually by the Committee of the Regions, on 7-10 October. The Ambassador of the Czech Republic has kindly made the facilities of the Representation of the Czech Republic available to the Coimbra Group for this one-day workshop. It will also function as an opportunity to meet with and introduce the Coimbra Group to the new members of the European Parliament. A joint invitation to Rectors and Mayors will be sent soon, calling for expressions of interest in presenting original initiatives in the field of city-university cooperation.
  • 25 October: the Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iaşi has invited Rectors to attend a Rectors’ Seminar on ”Universities in a Changing Europe”. Further information will be sent to you from the organisers who will cover all costs, including travel, for Rectors participating at the Seminar.
  • 2-3 December: High-Level Seminar on Education Policy at the University of Tartu, in the series of policy seminars organised annually by the Executive Board. The University of Tartu will organise the event with the theme “Universities as drivers of socio-academic integration in multilingual Europe” to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the transformation of the University of Tartu into a vernacular (i.e. Estonian-speaking) university, while placing this event in a broader international context of European and global historical developments. The High-Level Seminar will also be the occasion to present the first results of the Coimbra Group initiative on benchmarking of internationalisation.

You will receive detailed information on all of these events over the coming months, and we shall look forward to continued discussions and explorations in the new academic year.
The Executive Board would like to thank you once again for your contributions, debates and input, which provided a vibrant atmosphere at the Annual Conference in Kraków (photogallery).